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USA: A Mileage-Boosting, Drop-In, Plug-In Hybrid Retrofit Kit

A revolving tag-team of student researchers at Middle Tennessee State University has developed a plug-in hybrid retrofit kit for cars that bolts inside the rear-wheel hubs without requiring any changes in the brakes, suspension, or any other mechanical systems. Kits like this might not gain much of a foothold in the individual market until gas prices spike again, but they could provide vehicle fleet managers with an economical way to increase their zero-emission, electric vehicle profile and reduce their dependency on liquid fuels.

Electric Vehicles vs. Liquid Fuels
The days of “easy oil” are quickly fading, and petroleum is not the only liquid vehicle fuel on shaky ground. This year’s heat wave and drought has exposed a key vulnerability of conventional biofuels, which will persist until the next generation of biofuel crops emerges into commercial scale. (That new generation includes biofuel from algae as well as biofuel from waste materials or woody, drought-tolerant plants.)
In the meantime, fleet managers will have to deal with price spikes and supply issues whether they use biofuel or petroleum fuel. That makes electric vehicle conversion more attractive, particularly for fleets that travel short distances at low speeds.

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